Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

'Lost in Space' robot designer Robert Kinoshita dies at 100


timtomp (via YouTube)

Video of the B9 robot from "Lost In Space" and his most famous catchphrases.

Robert Kinoshita, the Los Angeles native who designed the iconic robots from "Lost in Space" and "Forbidden Planet," has passed away. He was 100 years old.

Konishita died Dec. 9 at a Torrance nursing home, according to the Hollywood Reporter, citing family friend Mike Clark. His creations included "Forbidden Planet's" Robby the Robot, the B9 robot from "Lost in Space," Tobor from "Tobor the Great" and more. Kinoshita also created "Lost in Space's" iconic flying-saucer-shaped Jupiter 2 spaceship.

Kinoshita built the original miniature prototype of Robby the Robot out of wood and plastic by combining several different concepts, according to the Reporter; the Rafu Shimpo reported that he struggled with the design.

"I thought, what the hell. We’re wasting so much time designing and drawing one sketch after another. I said to myself, I’m going to make a model," Kinoshita told the Rafu Shimpo in a 2004 interview. "Then one day, the art director sees the model. He says, ‘Give me that thing.’ He grabbed it and ran. ... Ten minutes later, he comes running back and puts the model back on my desk and says, ‘Draw it!’"


See NASA's travel posters for planets in other solar systems

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a trio of faux travel posters for several "exoplanets" — planets outside our own solar system, orbiting different stars. The posters were produced under JPL's "PlanetQuest" banner, which they call "the search for another Earth." So far, PlanetQuest has discovered 4,988 exoplanets.

As Engadget notes, the posters are echoes of the Works Progress Administration's travel prints from the mid-1930s; they also probably remind Disney-goers of the travel posters on the walkways leading to the Star Tours ride. The images represent both something old and something entirely new on the frontiers of human exploration.

Click on the posters to expand them to full high-resolution size.


The poster for Kepler-16b draws attention to its two suns, as it orbits a pair of stars. NASA itself points out a science fiction planet that fits the same description: Luke Skywalker's Tatooine from "Star Wars." NASA also notes that, while it's depicted in the poster as being a more Earth-like, terrestrial planet, it may also be a Saturn-like gas giant. Also, chances for life there aren't great — the temperature is close to that of dry ice. Still, that two-sun sunset could actually be real.


Late night hosts Conan, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher speak out about Paris attack


Conan O'Brien in a screen shot from the Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2015 edition of "Conan."

While some took a "the show must go on" approach and largely avoided bringing down a comedy show by addressing the attack in Paris on satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, several late night hosts tried to grapple with the attack and what it means for comedy.

Jon Stewart opened up "The Daily Show" by directly addressing the attack and expressing his condolences.

"I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn't have to be that," Stewart said, "but those guys at Hebdo had it, and they were killed for their cartoons. A stark reminder that, for the most part, the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not, in any way, the enemy. For however frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become, it's still back and forth conversation of those on, let's call it Team Civilization."


'Serial' becomes a romantic comedy trailer using the show's actual audio

Honora Talbott

Actors Bill Posley and Honora Talbott as "Serial's" Adnan Syed and Sarah Koenig.

Listeners to the "Serial" podcast, where "This American Life" producer Sarah Koenig obsessed over the guilt or innocence of convict Adnan Syed, poked fun at Koenig for her deeply personal investment in the case. Now some Los Angeles sketch comedians have taken that to another level with "Serial Dating."

Serial Dating trailer

The impressive thing about the video is that all of the dialogue used to turn "Serial" into a romantic comedy comes straight from the show itself. Add a romantic comedy narrator,  jaunty music and actors setting these lines in a different context, and you've got a whole new piece of "Serial" fan fiction.

The video comes from Honora Talbott, who also received some attention for a video making fun of Los Angeles's broken sidewalks to the tune of Pharrell's "Happy."


Coachella 2015 topped by AC/DC, Jack White and Drake

ESPN The Magazine's "NEXT" Event

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Rapper Drake performs at ESPN The Magazine's "NEXT" Event on Feb. 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Concert of AC/DC. Stiff Upper Lip Rotates Concert of AC/DC. Stiff Upper Lip Rotates

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Concert shot of AC/DC.

2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Day 3

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Singer Jack White performs during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 14, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Coachella announced their 2015 lineup online Tuesday morning. This year's headliners are perhaps even a bit more eclectic than usual, with classic rockers AC/DC, former White Stripes-turned-solo-bluesman Jack White and rapper/actor Drake topping the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the two-weekend annual festival respectively.

Coachella baited festival fans with their tweet that included the lineup, writing, "For those about to RT."

Beyond the top-billed, notable names appearing Friday include Interpol, Steely Dan, Alabama Shakes, Azealia Banks, Lykke Li, DJ Snake, Caribou and Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.

On Saturday, notables include the act with one of the hugest singles of 2014, Hozier of "Take Me To Church" fame. You've also got the Weeknd, Ratatat, Bad Religion, Tyler the Creator and hip-hop breakout Run the Jewels.